Theater of Cruelty

Party in Wonderland

With the Hovefestival, Norway finally got a real festival feeling.


Reviewed by Lars Sætren

[festival] Every year, dozens of Norwegians travel abroad to come to another world. Not to Denmark, nor to Roskilde, but to the state of Roskilde. This year, the fresh Hovefestival on Tromøy outside Arendal in its first year has become a worthy challenger to the Danes.

rain Heavy

The rainy weather was given the honorable task of opening the first Hovefest of all time. And there was little the festival management or anyone else could do about it. Festival general Morten Sandberg jovially joked that Norway has finally got a proper festival, compared to mud images from rainy years at Roskilde and Glastonbury in England. It is asked whether the festival participants who had to be evacuated in the muddy mud and darkness of the night think it was just as fun.

There are many different reasons to travel to the festival, but music is still the most important. Even before the Hove program began to take shape, we knew that it was the country's largest booking celebrity, Toffen Gunnufsen, known from the Hove Festival's biggest competitor, the Quartfestival, who ruled that ship. The result was nothing to laugh at. A varied menu with both sparsely described artists and well-known headliners within a good selection of genre forms. One should be quite special to not find something you like.

Well-composed program

Despite the use of terms such as the big metal and hip-hop day, there were at least two days of most, which left enough to get many people to choose festival passes rather than day passes. It also led to what many a festival participant has often had to irritate themselves about green: crunching. Two bands one wants to see playing at the same time. Don't all festival goers recognize the situation? After a quarter of a listen on one stage, one runs to the next while hoping that those who play at the next stop haven't played exactly the song you like yet. Then Amy Winehouse would rather accept that if you serve lukewarm soul food, people will rather stick to Queens of The Stone Age as soon as the tones of "Rehab" have faded.

On the whole, the program was exceptionally well composed, and I dare say that most people had the opportunity to get what they wanted. The conditions were rectified, and that not all the artists delivered the concert of their lives, they have to answer for themselves.

As was pointed out by several during the settlement, Hovefestival was a rural contrast to the more urban located Quart in Kristiansand. And in Hoveskogen you could lie in a hammock by the sea or stroll around the festival center Village, which in the usual festival style was equipped with stalls that offered clothes and other more or less necessary grooms, as well as the necessary, albeit somewhat dull, selection of food and drink.

For the spectator, there was always something going on. At the festival's own cinema theater, you could – if you took the trouble to get a ticket – experience a decent selection of films and a performance with the Theater of Cruelty for free.

The idea that a festival is something more than just music had also really taken hold of Hove. A large group of people were included in the cultural group, which among other things had built a drum kit where the festival participants worked both day and night. Another group launched dozens of talkies with various surprising stunts throughout the festival.

money sink

With such a clear environmental profile that Hove has attempted, it might have been a little easier for festival attendees to get rid of their rubbish, with slightly more and more visible garbage cans in vulnerable places. But all the salaries to the renovation staff of the volunteers, who provided spotless lawns well before the music started the next day.

One could also be annoyed that, in addition to a high priced festival pass, you have to pay for parking, tent space and the number of people in the tent, so that the price of taking part in the festival at all was quite heavy to swallow. But with five days of good music, good atmosphere, great scenery and details like water toilets, and that a pint of beer is actually a pint, and not 0,4, at least you smile while you blush. ■

Reviewed by Lars Sætren

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